Listen to the youth
SIR - Some time ago I responded to a letter that was published in the Comet regarding a public outcry about the problems of underage drinking and graffiti. I am writing again with a similar intention to my previous letter but this time it is written under
SIR - Some time ago I responded to a letter that was published in the Comet regarding a public outcry about the problems of underage drinking and graffiti.
I am writing again with a similar intention to my previous letter but this time it is written under the shadow of a recent tragedy.
A young man tragically died and so our prayers should go out to him and his family in this difficult time. But whose fault is this? Certainly whoever is found guilty will bear a great deal of responsibility and they will have to pay for what they did the rest of their lives. But what of the responsibility that we, as citizens of Stevenage, must be held accountable for? We must hold ourselves accountable for some of the responsibility of this great crime and tragedy.
Stevenage is a town of 'No Ball Games' signs. A town where the only places for our youths to enjoy themselves are places you have to pay for. And how do we support and encourage these youths? We say you can have fun as long as you keep out of sight and do not disturb anyone. We tell them that they can have fun as long as they can afford it. When they find their own ways to enjoy themselves, such as skateboarding or graffiti we condemn them (take for instance the recent attempt to ban skateboarding in the town centre).
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Please do not get me wrong, what has happened is inexcusable and a true tragedy but my fear is that this is a sign of worse things to come and happens when children don't have anything to look forward to or anything to do.
I think it is time for us to ask the youth of Stevenage, Hertfordshire and all of England and the UK and find out what they want.
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To listen to them and help get them involved in how we structure our towns and cities. I for one would rather have a town covered in graffiti than a town where our youths are needlessly dying.